Fall camp is about new beginnings. As the Utes try to separate themselves from last season’s difficult campaign, several new players have arrived on campus and bring with them hopes of ushering in a new era of success in the Pac-12. Although new Utes such as Brandon Cox, Uaea Masina, Davion Orphey and Harrison Handley all participated in spring football and gained valuable experience, fall camp will be the first exposure for several more key players to the rigors of major college football.
Many will have the opportunity to compete for playing time, while others may be forced to redshirt and wait for another chance to earn their way onto the field. Here we look at 10 newcomers that have a chance to make a name for themselves as fall camp begins.
Dan Sorensen is the Editor in Chief of UteZone.com, part of the Rivals.com network. He is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and Basketball Writers Association of America. Dan can be reached at email@example.com.
It’s clear that Utah coaches have high expectations of Ianu. The 6-foot-2, 300 pound defensive tackle has been listed as a co-starter on the depth chart since spring football ended. The good news for Ute fans is that Ianu has been participating in offseason workouts all summer and should be ready to compete for a starting role this fall.
Corporan is a big, fast and physical corner that will remind Utah fans of former Ute and current Kansas City Chief Sean Smith. Utah isn’t shy about playing true freshmen if they prove they’re ready, and Corporan has the physical tools to compete with an inexperienced group of corners. If he has a strong fall camp, he could see quite a bit of action during the season.
On film, McCormick looks like a taller, faster version of John White. If what he showed in high school translates to the next level, McCormick could turn out to be the next great Ute running back. However, before he can accomplish that, McCormick is going to need to out-compete seven other backs for the right to carry the rock.
Young has tremendous speed — he comes to Utah as the Texas state champion in the 400M — and is a player that Utah coaches feel can be a big play threat. Although he’s not tremendously big, don’t be surprised if Young sees the field early in packages designed to get him the ball in space and use his speed.
Hatfield was hands down one of the best football players to come out of the Los Angeles area last year. The former Crenshaw High School standout was a big play threat as a receiver, and an even better corner — earning recognition as his league’s defensive MVP. Hatfield will start out at receiver this fall, but could easily make the transition to corner if it’s a better fit.
Lewis was Utah’s lone four-star signee in the recruiting class of 2013. After participating in the summer conditioning program, Lewis is eager to prove that he belongs in the rotation. As a JUCO transfer, Lewis is expected to be ready to compete right away. Look for him to be in the rotation of receivers and potentially challenge for a starting spot.
Williams is one of the best athletes in Utah’s recruiting class of 2013. He was the top rated athlete at last spring’s NIKE training camp in Long Beach, Calif., and boasts a sub 4.45 40-yard dash. With his combination of size and speed, Williams could be a factor for playing time this fall, provided he can demonstrate the ability to pick up the blitz.
Manning set nearly every important Orange County, Calif., passing record during his high school career and is eager to try to move up the depth chart. An accurate passer that can make all of the throws, Manning is also a terrific leader and team-first player. It will be a tall order for him to supplant Travis Wilson as the Utah starter, but a strong fall camp could help Manning start his career on a good note.
Thomas is one of the more intriguing players joining the Utes this fall. Although he is athletic enough to play a number of positions, Thomas will begin his career at quarterback and will try to prove that he belongs in the mix. Thomas has terrific speed, but his arm is somewhat of an unknown commodity, as he only threw 76 passes during his senior year. If he doesn’t pan out at quarterback, Thomas could make an excellent receiver or safety.
Despite participating in a large number of plays each game, the long snapper often labors in anonymity: Fans typically only hear their names when a mistake is made. However, having a good long snapper can often mean the difference between victory and defeat — especially when the outcome of a game rides on a field goal attempt. Dominguez is a true freshman out of Southern California powerhouse Orange Lutheran and was one of the elite specialists coming out of the high school ranks last season. He’s already being penciled in as the starter entering fall camp, and if Dominguez has his way, Ute fans will see him in action and rarely hear his name.